The Federal Government's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook: January 2011 Update [Reissued on March 22, 2011]

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Other written product issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since 1992, GAO has published long-term fiscal simulations showing federal deficits and debt levels under different sets of assumptions. GAO developed its long-term model in response to a bipartisan request from Members of Congress concerned about the long-term effects of fiscal policy. GAO's simulations provide a broad context for consideration of policy options by illustrating both the importance of taking action and the magnitude of the steps necessary to change the path. They are not intended to suggest particular policy choices but rather to help facilitate ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. March 18, 2011.

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Description

Other written product issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since 1992, GAO has published long-term fiscal simulations showing federal deficits and debt levels under different sets of assumptions. GAO developed its long-term model in response to a bipartisan request from Members of Congress concerned about the long-term effects of fiscal policy. GAO's simulations provide a broad context for consideration of policy options by illustrating both the importance of taking action and the magnitude of the steps necessary to change the path. They are not intended to suggest particular policy choices but rather to help facilitate a dialogue on this important issue. As in the past, GAO shows two simulations: "Baseline Extended" and an "Alternative." The Baseline Extended follows the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) January 2011 baseline estimates for the first 10 years and then simply holds revenue and spending other than interest on the debt and the large entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) constant as a share of gross domestic product (GDP). Revenue as a share of GDP over the entire period is higher than the historical average; discretionary spending is below average. In the Alternative simulation, tax provisions other than the temporary Social Security payroll tax reduction are extended to 2021 and the alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption amount is indexed to inflation through 2021; revenues are then brought back to the historical average as a share of GDP; discretionary spending other than Recovery Act provisions grows with GDP during the entire period--keeping it just below the 40-year historical average as a share of GDP. Both simulations are run using two different projections for Social Security and the major health entitlements. For Baseline Extended, GAO uses (1) the Social Security and Medicare Trustees' (Trustees) 2010 intermediate projections and (2) the CBO long-term projections that are closest to current law. For the Alternative, projections for the major health entitlement programs are based on (1) the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary's (CMS Actuary) alternative projections, which assume that certain cost containment mechanisms intended to slow the growth of health care cost are not sustained, and (2) the CBO alternative long-term projections, which assume that some of the policies intended to restrain growth in health care spending do not continue after 2020. Medicare physician rates in both the CMS Actuary and CBO alternative projections are not reduced as in CBO's baseline. GAO also calculates the fiscal gap--the size of action that must be taken to stabilize debt at the current share of GDP."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • March 18, 2011

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United States. Government Accountability Office. The Federal Government's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook: January 2011 Update [Reissued on March 22, 2011], text, March 18, 2011; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc295296/: accessed December 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.